Birthing a healthy baby is undoubtedly a parent’s number one priority while the bun is in the oven. Ten fingers, ten toes, five senses, and working limbs – all a parent could ever hope for when their child graces the world with their presence.
Then, we give birth, and our bodies belong to ourselves again, no longer housing our sweet, little child in his or her bedwomb.
I remember walking by a full-length mirror for the first time after giving birth. I felt completely unfamiliar with the woman staring back at me. I carried over 100 extra pounds; clearly, a long weight-loss journey was ahead of me. As I read through the pages of various fitness magazines and online blogs, seeking motivation, recipes, and tips, I uncomfortably noticed a trend perpetuating the pages of baby-related articles: a speedy snapback.
Celebrities and socialities gracing magazine covers, stages, and big & small screens are often losing baby weight in a matter of a few short weeks, and in some cases, days! Yes, days! In fact, Rob Kardashian’s baby’s mother and fiance, Blac Chyna, showed her super flat tummy, via Instagram, a mere nine days after giving birth, citing “good genes” for her snapback. Celebrity status aside, there are regular mommies who lose their baby weight in the same amount of time as well, and because of social networks, people are able to witness these rapid transformations right before their very own eyes. For women like me, however, seeing seemingly overnight weight loss success stories was a pure nightmare.
Pop culture and society focus on a flat stomach before praising a healthy birth, and that shouldn’t be reality. First-time moms, especially, are shocked to discover their bodies do not automatically bounce back into pre-baby shape immediately after giving birth. In fact, many mamas still look pregnant despite giving birth!
Expecting yourself to be “red-carpet ready” or in our cases, “Facebook” ready is unrealistic. Just ask Kelly Clarkson, international pop star, who was relentlessly bashed in the media for struggling to lose her baby weight. The pressure to be thin was certainly present, but Clarkson lost the baby weight on her terms and not because of cruel criticism or pressure from her Label. She is a woman to be admired and applauded because she refused to be photo shopped or promote an unrealistic body image for the sake of the industry. Go, Kelly!
No matter who you are, it takes time for your belly to shrink. In fact, after birth, a woman’s body is left with a great deal of excess fluid which can take two weeks to lose and a full month for the uterus to shrink down to its pre-pregnancy size. Plus, doctors advise mommies to wait a minimum of six weeks before hitting the gym again, so, you have no choice but to put the weights down, and, well, wait! However, there are several mommies who lose the weight with ease. In either case, the mama society needs to perpetuate love and support rather than comparison and competition, and it all starts with us.
I remember a girlfriend of mine whoa sad ordeal with one of her closest friends, who happened to snapback with ease. In a few short days, her friend was looking as fabulous as ever, as if she never gave birth to begin with. Rather than take her many compliments with grace, she hurled hurtful, shady insults in other moms’ direction – comparing bodies, sharing unwelcomed weight loss advice, and posting childish captions via social media, building herself up while knocking others down. I chalked that sort of behavior up to society and the ego behind snapping back, which made me realize – as women, whether you snapback in a matter of weeks or your journey takes several months, we must share love with one another; we must encourage; we must be a community!
The average mama does not have a full-time staff on hand – no personal chefs or dieticians; no personal trainer; night-time nanny, and so forth. Nonetheless, postpartum needs are still of the utmost importance, and there is one piece of advice that will jump start you toward your pre-baby body. Are you ready… It’s not going to happen overnight! You have far more important things to worry about than a six pack!
BAMs advice – Take a walk with your baby. Enjoy the mommy/baby time together as you calmly stroll around the block. Be conscious of your joints and muscles regaining their memory. Also, fill your body with quality nutrients – fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and nuts. This will help your snapback while nourishing your baby as you breastfeed. And please, don’t deprive yourself of the goodies, too. Food is not a punishment. Enjoy each bite. Lastly, but certain not least – drown yourself in self-love; remind yourself you are capable, beautiful, strong, and the true architect of society – a mother! The weight will come off! Do not rob yourself of happiness in the intermittent. Your baby feels every ounce of energy you have – so, do you want your baby to feel your love or your anxiety of body issues? I think we all know the answer.
The absence of the pressure to snapback is liberating! I suggest you try it! Comparison is the thief of joy, and you should not be comparing yourself to that mom, this mom, or any other mom, celebrity or not. Their journey is not yours, and vise versa. Each journey is unique and powerful, designed for you and only you.